Bath, England – The UK’s Only Naturally Occurring Hot Springs

With a 2006 population of 90,000, Bath is located in the south west region of England and is built around the only naturally occurring Hot Springs in the UK (thus the name!). The Romans established it as a spa resort in 43 A.D., building bathing complexes and temples in the surrounding area.

During the Middle Ages, Bath prospered mainly through its wool trading, but in the 18th century Bath became a center of fashionable life, and many of its cultural and architectural landmarks were constructed. Today, Bath is known for its beautifully preserved Georgian architectural structures. Probably the most well-known is the Royal Crescent, a fabulous structure of connected Georgian houses built between 1767 and 1775. A short stroll away is a curved group of 30 Georgian townhouses called the Circus.

Although the primary style of architecture in Bath is Georgian, the 16th century Norman Bath Abbey is a striking architectural feature of the city. It is one of the largest examples of perpendicular Gothic architecture. You’ll also notice many Roman archaeological sites cordoned off throughout the center of the city.

Bath also features many fine museums, including the Victoria Art Gallery, the Museum of East Asian Art, and of course the Roman Baths. Jane Austen lived in the city from 1801 to 1806, and although it is known that she did not particularly like the city, nonetheless there is a Jane Austen Centre which is a tribute to her.

Tourism is a major industry in Bath, with about 5 million visitors coming every year. The city is well-equipped to handle this influx, with about 100 restaurants and the same amount of bars and pubs. There are also open top bus tours as well as river tours and walking tours. The city finally created a modern spa in 2006 in an effort to return to the glory days of the Roman baths.

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